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I don't want to loose[sic] you now - Blather, Rinse, Repeat
May 12th, 2004
11:51 am

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I don't want to loose[sic] you now
I understand that different people have different relationships with the language. Some people are anal-retentive spellers, and some, not so much.

One misspelling that continues to baffle me is lose/loose. This isn't the obscure apostrophe nightmare that one finds with, say the word "it". Lose, loose. Sounds different, spelled different, you have to type extra letters to misspell "lose".

I would love it if somebody could explain how this particular misspelling happens, but I suppose that the thought processes involved are so low-level that there's no hope of explanation - much like when you accidentally start typing a different word, and then you wonder what word it was that your fingers were going to type.

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From:wendywoowho
Date:May 12th, 2004 11:58 am (UTC)
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The oo combination gives you an "ooooooooooo" sound, and you have an "ooooooooo" sound in "lose."

Lose, properly spelled, has a vowel, followed by a consonant-followed-by-a-final-E. The simple spelling rule would make that a OH sound, like in Hose, or Rose.

People think Lose looks...wrong... and so they correct in error.
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From:tsmaster
Date:May 12th, 2004 12:51 pm (UTC)
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Hey, that makes sense.

I'm going to start pronouncing lose to rhyme with rose. Maybe that'll help.
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From:wendywoowho
Date:May 12th, 2004 01:10 pm (UTC)
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I'm all about figuring out WHY people make mistakes.

Ask me sometime about why people have adopted Impact as a verb when IT IS NOT A VERB DAMMIT!!!!
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From:tsmaster
Date:May 12th, 2004 01:19 pm (UTC)
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While we're ranting... :)

"Divide" gets my neck hair up when used as a noun - "Continental Divide" being the exception.

"Architect" likewise irks me when used as a verb. Seems like people want a bigger word than "design" for sitting around conference tables getting nothing done.
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From:jsmitty_o
Date:May 12th, 2004 02:12 pm (UTC)

evolution

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Ahhhhhhhh.... yes... but languages change. It's just a matter of time before some reputable dictionary lists impact as a verb, too.

And it's also a matter of time before most grammarians say it's okay to end a sentence with a proposition. In fact, even now many claim it's okay to do that, but there are still those really stubborn people... ;)

Whether we like it or not, language evolves over time. =)
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From:tsmaster
Date:May 12th, 2004 03:19 pm (UTC)

Re: evolution

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Sure, and it's an interesting thing to note that the rate of change of the language since Shakespeare is substantially lower than before Shakespeare's time.

Is this because English speakers don't want Romeo and Juliet to get any more incomprehensible than it is now? Is it just that the language has reached a certain stagnation, and is now comparatively static? I leave that to the linguistic historians to figure out.

It does seem to me that some people are abusing the language, and it may simply be that from a more enlightened perspective, what I call "abuse" would look more like "evolution". In any case, the change of the language is a result of the give and take between stodgy purists, enlightened progressives, and clueless crapweasels.

I may not be being fair to the crapweasels. Some of them have a clue.


I guess when I end up having to take a position about the evolution of language is that, sure, usage changes over time, but not all change is good. A new usage either reflects that the language was unable to reflect an idea or that the user was unable to use the language well. I'm in favor of extending the language in the first case, and education in the second.

It's kind of like my pocketknife. Sure, I can use the main blade to drive a screw if I have to, but it's probably better to use the screwdriver. Not only is the screwdriver better designed to drive screws (imagine!) it also doesn't damage the blade for the next time I actually want to use the blade to, say, cut something. Using the main blade as a screwdriver changes the blade over time, but it changes it to be less useful.


All right. I'm stopping now.


[User Picture]
From:jsmitty_o
Date:May 13th, 2004 07:14 am (UTC)

Re: evolution

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I actually agree with everything you said. I love playing devil's advocate when it comes to language, though. There are some things that drive me batty, but I've learned to let them go for the most part. It is largely out of my control and it certainly will never go away. I know that the big thing I have to constantly remind myself of (of which to remind myself... see, I hate having to write it like that, ugh) is that just because someone is a poor speller it does *not* necessarily mean they're dumb. I tend to equate the two, but it's not always the case and it isn't fair. For example, I never realized how intelligent, brignt, and funny chiabrit is until I met him in person. I finally "got" him at that point. And then I immediately felt guilty for not realizing how smart he was before that point. (There's my confession...)

But there is one pet peeve that still gets me. It's not spelling or grammar related, but it does relate to putting text on a page. I hate hate HATE only having one space between sentences!! I would much rather have two because it's easier on my eyes. But I am completely outvoted at work and we only put one space between sentences. siiiiigh.

See, here's the deal. When type was originally set, like truly *set* on a block with little metal pieces for each letter, typesetters (the people) would put one and a half spaces between sentences to make it easier to read. When we first got typewriters, and there was basically only one typeface and it was a monospace typeface (similar to Courier), the standard was to put two spaces between sentences because one just wasn't enough. But allegedly with desktop publishing programs and computers, you don't need two spaces, only one, and the program can adjust the spacing to make it easy enough to read.

I say HOGWASH. I don't think DTP programs do a good enough job spacing between sentences. And in some cases, there is almost *no* space between sentences. This drives me BATTY.

So, there. There's *my* pet peeve. ;)
[User Picture]
From:wendywoowho
Date:May 13th, 2004 05:51 am (UTC)

Re: evolution

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Languages do change, but if we can figure out why certain choices are being made, we can shore up parts of the language that we'd like to preserve.

Impact-as-a-verb -- at first I thought it was laziness. Then I realized it's fear.

Fear of what? Fear of looking like a fool when using affect or effect. One's a verb, one's a noun, but no one is really quite sure in day to day word choice which to use... so they go with the splashily wrong "impact."
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From:tsmaster
Date:May 13th, 2004 11:29 am (UTC)

Re: evolution

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It's funny that you should mention this, as Liz no doubt remembers the Cambridge Brewery "affect/effect" episode. One bright shining moment where I knew the difference between "affect" and "effect" and used both, in both verb and noun forms, in one sentence.

And then, promptly forgot.
[User Picture]
From:wendywoowho
Date:May 13th, 2004 11:30 am (UTC)

Re: evolution

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It must have been the beer. The magic beer taught you the way!
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From:tsmaster
Date:May 13th, 2004 01:12 pm (UTC)

Re: evolution

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The Cambridge Brewery is where I learned to like hard cider. I still haven't learned to like beer.

That, I suspect, is a different thread.
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From:wendywoowho
Date:May 13th, 2004 01:14 pm (UTC)

Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh.

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Hard cider. It is a beautiful thing, no?

I always loved it. I learned to love it at the Brickskellar in DC. Mmmmmmmmmmm.
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From:kiffle
Date:May 12th, 2004 12:10 pm (UTC)
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I'm particularly annoyed by breath/breathe.
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From:strangeanimal
Date:May 12th, 2004 04:03 pm (UTC)
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my pet peeve: "could of" instead of "could have".
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From:demyankee
Date:May 12th, 2004 05:19 pm (UTC)
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Ahhh, where to start:

could of/should of/would of
bin
its/it's
your/you're
their/there/they're
whent
whant
dosen't
wear/where

PLEASE, someone teach these kids how to spell before I get them in sixth grade, because I can't do it all by myself.

Whew, I feel a little better. Good day to ask, I just spent my afternoon grading the world's WORST mysteries - complete with misspellings on final drafts (typed on a word processor, HOW does that happen?!)
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